Dreams are strange phenomena that have the potential to create both excitement and confusion in people. Ranging from simple visions of flying to complex stories filled with symbolism, dreams seem like a wish-fulfilment factory for the mind. But what happens when you wake up? What happens when you forget your dreams?
It’s not uncommon to experience fleeting moments of forgetting dreams. Forgetting parts of any dream is normal due to the fact that certain aspects of your dreams can be forgotten even while you’re still dreaming them. Some scientists believe that these types of memory lapses occur because our memories get mixed up between what happened during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and waking life. For example, if someone has vivid nightmares about being chased—a common dream scenario—it’s possible for them to mix up their memories as they transition from sleeping to waking consciousness.
The reason that people tend to forget dreams is because they naturally try to make sense of what they remember, and this includes interpreting these fragments in a logical way. Forgetting dreams creates a barrier between the conscious and subconscious mind, which can sometimes protect you from too much emotion or fear about a situation. Forgetting nightmares is often considered a good thing because it gives you the opportunity to approach stressful situations without feeling too overwhelmed or anxious about it beforehand. Some experts also believe that forgetting your bad dreams helps reduce stress levels throughout the day. Typically, most people only remember their dreams when they first wake up during REM sleep, although there are exceptions to this rule.
It’s true that most people forget their dreams, but there are ways that you can try and keep the memory alive. Keeping a dream journal is one of the best ways to retain your dream memories because it allows you to record whatever you remember about your night time visions. This practice not only helps you recall what happened during your prime REM sleep stages, but it encourages you to take note of any recurring themes or emotions so that you can reflect on them later. Forgetting dreams may happen naturally as you transition from sleep into waking life—and it’s perfectly normal, too—but taking steps to improve your memory of these mental movies will help give meaning behind some of the mysterious images that come up in your mind.